Psychodynamic Concepts

The details
Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Thursday 03 October 2019
Saturday 14 December 2019
12 December 2019


Requisites for this module
PA210 and PA211



Key module for

DIPLC89A09 Psychodynamic Approaches,
DIPLC89A24 Psychodynamic Approaches,
MA C89D36 Psychodynamic Counselling (3 year)

Module description

This module offers an understanding of the key theoretical concepts used in psychodynamic thinking, relating both to individuals and personal relationships and to group and organisational dynamics. In particular, it helps students understand the unconscious dynamics at work in individuals and families, and become able to apply their understanding beyond individuals in relation to groups and organisations. The module aims to establish a theoretical foundation for the rest of the programme. As such students will study the basis of a psychodynamic approach, the key theoretical ideas and their place within the discipline. The discipline is understood with reference to its place in social science and the underpinning philosophical assumptions are considered.

Module aims

The module aims are:
* To familiarise students with the key concepts of psychodynamic thinking applied to individuals and families.
* To help students understand the underpinning assumptions of psychodynamic thinking and its place in Social Sciences.
* To build on students' understanding of the psychodynamics of human behaviour by applying these ideas to groups and organisations.
* To become aware of the unconscious dynamics at work in individuals, families, groups and organisations.
* To understand the importance of the unconscious in everyday life and in clinical presentations.
* To understand the importance of these theoretical ideas in later working with clients as a psychodynamic practitioner.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module you should be able to:
* Understand key psychodynamic concepts about individuals and personal relationships and their place in the discipline.
* Be aware of the place of psychodynamic thinking in the social sciences
* Be familiar wiith the role of the unconscious and unconscious processes in relationships and interactions.
* Be familiar with key psychodynamic concepts relating to organisational dynamics.
* Be aware of the implications of psychodynamic concepts for later work with clients

Module information

No additional information available.

Learning and teaching methods

There are 10 week of 2 hour seminars. Teaching is divided into two components, the first hour is a taught seminar, the second hour is a group discussion. Seminars may include workshops and other exercises.


  • Mitchell, Stephen A. (1983) 'Object Relations and Psychoanalytic Models', in Object relations in psychoanalytic theory, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press., pp.9-20
  • Curtis, Hannah. (2015) 'Anxiety', in Everyday life and the unconscious mind: an introduction to psychoanalytic concepts, London: Karnac Books., pp.30-44
  • Shohet, R. (c1999) 'Whose feelings am I feeling? Using the concept of projective identification', in Loving, hating, and survival: a handbook for all who work with troubled children and young people, Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Holmes, Guy; Perrin, Anna. (1997) 'Countertransference: What is it? what do we do with it?', in Psychodynamic Counselling. vol. 3 (3) , pp.263-277
  • Heimann, Paula. (1950) 'On Counter-Transference', in The International journal of psycho-analysis. vol. 31, pp.81-84
  • Skogstad, Wilhelm. (2000) 'The dynamics of healthcare institutions', in Observing organisations: anxiety, defence, and culture in health care, London: Routledge., pp.3-16
  • Kegerreis, Sue. (2010) 'Key Theoretical Ideas in Psychodynamic Thinking', in Psychodynamic counselling with children and young people: an introduction, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan., pp.12-21
  • Gianna Henry, Elsie Osborne, Isca Salzberger-Wittenberg. (1999) 'Aspects of the Student's Relationship to the Teacher', in The emotional experience of learning and teaching, London: Karnac Books.
  • Dina Rosenbluth. (1970) 'Transference in Child Psychotherapy', in Journal of Child Psychotherapy. vol. 2, pp.72-87
  • Anton Obholzer; Vega Zagier Roberts. (1994) 'The troublesome individual in the troubled institution', in The Unconscious at work: individual and organizational stress in the human services, London: Routledge., pp.129-138
  • Miller-Pietroni, Marilyn. (1999) 'Containment in theory and practice', in Psychodynamic Counselling. vol. 5 (4) , pp.407-427
  • Melanie Klein. (1929) 'Personification in the Play of Children', in International Journal of Psycho-Analysis. vol. 10, pp.193-204
  • Lacewing, Michael. (2007) 'How do psychoanalysts know what they know?', in The academic face of psychoanalysis: papers in philosophy, the humanities, and the British clinical tradition, London: Routledge., pp.172-195
  • Obholzer, Anton. (1994) 'Authority, power and leadership: contributions from open systems theory', in The Unconscious at work: individual and organizational stress in the human services, London: Routledge., pp.39-47
  • Mitchell, Stephen A.; Black, Margaret J. (1995) Freud and beyond: a history of modern psychoanalytic thought, New York: BasicBooks.
  • Gianna Henry, Elsie Osborne, Isca Salzberger-Wittenberg. (1999) 'Aspects of the Teacher’s Relationship to the Student', in The emotional experience of learning and teaching, London: Karnac Books.
  • Curtis, Hannah. (2015) 'Defence mechanisms', in Everyday life and the unconscious mind: an introduction to psychoanalytic concepts, London: Karnac Books., pp.45-59
  • Trowell, Judith. (1995) 'Key psychoanalytic concepts', in The emotional needs of young children and their families: using psychoanalytic ideas in the community, London: Routledge., pp.12-21
  • Freud, Anna. (1968) 'The Mechanisms of Defense', in The ego and the mechanisms of defence, London: Hogarth Press for the Institute of Psycho-Analysis. vol. 30
  • Halton, William. (1994) 'Some unconscious aspects of organisational life: contribution from psychoanalysis', in The Unconscious at work: individual and organizational stress in the human services, London: Routledge., pp.11-18
  • Howard, Susan. (2017) Skills in psychodynamic counselling & psychotherapy, Los Angeles: SAGE. vol. Skills in counselling & psychotherapy
  • Main, Tom; Johns, Jennifer. (1989) The ailment and other psychoanalytic essays, London: Free Association Books.
  • Salzberger-Wittenberg, Isca. (1970) 'Persecutory Anxieties and Defences Against them in the Adult, Child and Infant', in Psycho-analytic insight and relationships: a Kleinian approach, London: Routledge & K. Paul. vol. Library of social work

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Weighting
Coursework   Formative essay    0% 
Coursework   Essay    100% 

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr David Henderson, email:
Rodrigo Sanchez Escandon
Student Administrator 5A.202; telephone 01206 873745; email Email:



External examiner

Dr Anne Elizabeth Worthington
Middlesex University
Senior Lecturer
Available via Moodle
Of 20 hours, 20 (100%) hours available to students:
0 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).


Further information

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